Lately, I have been happy, really happy. Just eight weeks ago, my beloved godchild gave birth to her first child, a little girl. The presence of this baby, this new life, has filled my heart with a sense of delight and wonder than I had not anticipated.
As an only child with no children of my own, I have spent my life making and maintaining close friendships with a handful of folks. These friends are the siblings I never had, some of them dating back to my childhood, others from times in my twenties and thirties. R and C are such a couple, our friendship going back to 1981, the year their daughter L was born.
When R and C asked me to become L’s godmother, I was thrilled, and have a vivid memory of baptizing her on the beach near where she had been born. For over thirty years now, my relationship with L has been nothing less than a joy. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine loving her more if she had been my own child. It’s been a privilege to watch her grow and develop into the fine woman and new mother that she is today.
I was unprepared for the wave of feeling I experienced when I heard that L had delivered a healthy baby girl, E. Holding E for the first time three weeks later, I was reminded to doing so with L at the same age, almost thirty-three years ago.
It had been years since I had been around a baby, let alone a newborn. Surprisingly, my anxiety melted away, pretty quickly, and I joined L and J and helping care for their tiny daughter. Leaving to return home to San Diego was a wrench, and more than a few tears were shed in the taxi to the airport.
You can imagine how happy I was, three weeks later, to keep L and E company for three days while J had a business trip across the country. It was amazing to see how much E had grown and developed in such a short time. L’s confidence as a new mama had grown and she was getting a bit more sleep, a huge relief. Lucky E to have such loving, attentive parents –
The birth of this sweet baby has renewed in me a sense of optimism that I have not felt in years, a reminder of the continuity of life through the generations. Now that most of my family are gone, it is a burst of sunshine to look at E and anticipate a long, full life ahead of her.
I hope to play some part in her life as she grows up, just as I have in her mother’s. We are all bound together, baby, parents and grandparents, in a collective memory bank that is so precious to this “god-grandma”.